I’d like to apologize to every Alberta business owner, business leader, entrepreneur, sales guy & gal and anyone else whom I may have (less than gently) pushed social media on. It was difficult for me to understand your resistance because I’ve always loved and believed deeply in the benefits of social media for business. But since launching my own small business in Alberta (for the second time) I now understand your reluctance. It is HARD to run a business day-after-day, while serving clients and balancing life (kids, health, volunteering and a number of other commitments) on top of that, being expected to master social media.
Here I was, excitedly leading social media training sessions with the latest and greatest from social media & digital marketing; sharing tips, tricks and shortcuts – insist that it was simple and easy to implement. Meanwhile you were just trying to keep your head above water with your ‘regular’ work and still trying to get a handle on the basics. The juggle is real and you must’ve hated me for going on about how simple it was!
Social media is not simple, it’s actually a ton of work…..So, I’m sorry.
I didn’t understand the limits. Juggling is hard. (Literally, have you ever tried juggling?!) When social media isn’t your forte, it can be overwhelming and frustrating. For some business owners, it’s that dreaded thing that cuts into your downtime. I’ve heard from some of you who cram it in at the end of the day or while at the park with your kids or in the wee hours of the morning, as you take that first sip of coffee. I even heard from one business owner who hated social media because she felt guilty for wanting a break at the end of the day but felt she had to cram it in or she’d lose out. Her story made me cringe. Social media is meant to make your life easier – help you reach the right people, generate awareness and possibly new sales for your business. It’s been hailed as the tool that can help level the playing field for small businesses who don’t have massive ad budgets to compete with larger organizations.
A few days ago I grudgingly put together a video for an upcoming social media workshop here in Alberta. As you may know, video is the ‘new’ marketing thing and I have a love/hate relationship with it. After more than one hundred takes I wanted to throw in the towel – kids were crying, my special light battery was dying and I started feeling like a broken record. It became crystal clear why some small business owners (who aren’t comfortable with social media) don’t invest more in their social presence. When you’re spending precious time and energy creating content, you need to know that it will positively impact your business.
Nevertheless, I believe in the power of social media. I know that it can have a meaningful impact on your business. But I take a different approach than most social media marketers – I love keeping up-to-date on new stuff, but I don’t believe it’s realistic to expect small businesses to immediately adopt it. I don’t think it’s realistic to expect you to create new content day-after-day, or blog week-over-week or even start a Facebook Live show. I don’t think it’s realistic to tell you that you need to post to Facebook every day – quite frankly, there’s more to social media than all this stuff (it actually begins with an integrated marketing strategy.)
What I’ve come to understand is that small business have limitations. With limited time, money, resources and patience to invest in social media, we need tangible, actionable marketing ideas. So instead of giving lots of fluffy stuff, we (myself and guest bloggers) will be sharing ‘how too’ that can have a meaningful impact on your business, requiring effort but not extensive. Quite frankly, there should be more than 47% of us leveraging social media!
Finally, I want you to know that I’m always here (mostly, unless my 18 month old is screaming her head off, or the dog needs to go out, or my 6 year old needs me to find the iPad.) I love answering questions and helping businesses out wherever I can. So if you have a specific question, don’t hesitate to ask. The juggle is real but it doesn’t mean we can’t make it more manageable!